santiago cacaloxtepec The sign says welcome but restrictions apply.

Day in jail is punishment for no face mask in Mixtec town in Oaxaca

It was a 'municipality of hope' until the coronavirus crept in

No face mask means jail time in Santiago Cacaloxtepec, Oaxaca.

The mayor of this mostly indigenous municipality in the state’s Mixtec region is imposing some of the strictest coronavirus restrictions in the country, including fines and 24 hours in jail for not wearing face masks in public. 

Until a few days ago, Cacaloxtepec was included on the federal government’s “Municipalities of Hope” list, meaning that authorities considered the risk of coronavirus contagion to be minimal enough for restrictions to be lifted. 

But the municipality confirmed its first case on May 19 and the mayor decided to crack down, developing a community health emergency plan that goes above and beyond measures taken by other areas.

In addition to a 200-peso fine and a day in jail for not wearing a face mask, the same punishment can be imposed for those who do not comply with social distancing or neglect to use antibacterial gel. 

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The local council also agreed on a curfew, closing the town to visitors from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., and not allowing anyone outside their homes after 10:00 p.m.

As well, all schools will remain closed for an indefinite period as Mayor Teresita del Carmen Martínez Flores applies a “red light” designation for maximum risk of coronavirus transmission. 

Health checkpoints have been established at the entrances to the town, where the names of all those who enter will be recorded. People who enter the town from elsewhere and intend to stay will have to quarantine for 14 days, and public transit vehicles can only carry three passengers at a time. 

Religious services, including funerals, have been canceled.

Martínez says her government will work with neighboring municipalities to coordinate efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, and the emergency plan will be regularly evaluated beginning June 15 when authorities will determine whether restrictions should be eased or tightened.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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